Inadequate physician knowledge of the effects of diet on blood lipids and lipoproteins

Nutr J. 2003 Dec 1;2:19. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-2-19.


Background: To assess the nutrition knowledge of physicians on the basic effects of diet on blood lipids and lipoproteins.

Methods: Anonymous mailed dietary knowledge surveys to 6000 randomly selected physicians in the United States licensed in either Internal Medicine or Cardiology.

Results: Response rate: 16% (n = 639). Half of the physicians did not know that canola oil and 26% did not know olive oil were good sources of monounsaturated fat. Ninety-three percent (84% of cardiologists vs. 96% of internists; p < 0.001) did not know that a low-fat diet, in general, would increase blood triglycerides. Approximately three-quarters (70% of cardiologists vs. 77% of internists; p < 0.01) did not know a low-fat diet would decrease HDL-c and almost half (45%) thought that a low-fat diet would not change HDL-c.

Conclusions: If physicians are to implement dietary and cholesterol management guidelines, they will likely need to become more knowledgeable about nutrition.